China Plans to Build a Solar Farm in Space

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The modern lifestyle requires a high amount of energy. Solar power is able to provide this energy in a clean manner but our solar farms are a bit limited. Some researchers theorized that building a solar farm in space is a great idea since it will be able to gather a higher amount of energy in a shorter period of time.

China has announced that it will build a giant interstellar power station that will orbit the Earth. During the first stage Chinese scientists will launch a series of small power stations. These stations will be launched between 2021 and 2025 and they will be used in order to test the potential of the system.  If the results are positive a megawatt-level facility should be up and running by 2030. A gigawatt-capable station should be online and orbiting around the world by 2050.

The main feature of these stations is represented by the fact that they will not be influenced by weather or day/night cycles. This means that they will be able to provide a constant flow of energy at a rate that will be six times bigger than the output of current solar farms.

The stations will be able to convert the solar energy into electricity that will be beamed towards Earth with the help of high-power microwave or laser arrays. A receiving system will be able to feed the energy into the power greed.

As expected, there are several challenges that will have to be addressed in order to make the project successful. Placing the power station into the orbit will be a laborious task since it could weigh up to 1,000 tons. Some of the researchers are looking at 3D printing as a feasible solution. A few studies will also be needed in order to asses if microwave radiation is able to harm the atmosphere of the planet in the long run.

While the plan seems to be over-ambitious China may be able to make it happen.


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